Which Antenna Is Best?
How would you know which antenna is best suited for you?
Truth be told…… I cannot tell you which one is best without testing for myself.
There’s no straight forward answer to that question. I carry several different types and sizes of antennas with me so I can test which one may work best in any particular situation. Sometimes I am surprised with the results of which antenna is best suited.
Without a good digital signal analyser its pure guess work. So, even though I have information here about the different antennas I use, I cannot tell you which one to use. In fact I carry several Televisions Antennas with me because I need to test which antenna is the better performer. I sometimes guess and get surprised when my guess is incorrect according to my TV antenna signal meter.
In the region I service which is from Ballina Northern N.S.W to Burleigh Heads Qld, I install UHF antennas of varying types. In the hinterland of Byron Bay for example a popular antenna is a phased array type, however in more recent times I have found that a Log Periodic can often out perform them. Closer to the towns of Ocean Shores or Brunswick Heads and Narrow Cut UHF Yagi maybe more appropriate. Up in the Tweed Heads to Burleigh Heads area it could be any of the antennas I carry.
So many factors are involved from lagging and reflected signals to interference from 3G or 4G transmission.
If you lived in the city then perhaps you will need a VHF antenna or both a VHF and UHF antenna. VHF stands for “Very High Frequency” and UHF stands for Ultra High Frequency.
In 2014 in our area some of the TV channels transmission frequencies were changed. They were shifted into a part of the frequency spectrum lower down but still within the UHF area. This was done to free up space in the frequency spectrum for the GVT to make money by letting mobile phone and data carriers such as Telstra and Vodaphone to upgrade their communications to 4G, LTE. This meant that there are quite a significant number of TV antennas and Masthead amplifier boosters out there which are picking up the 4G, LTE signals and causing TV interference issues.
Depending on the design of the antenna the interference factor could be better or worse. Better if the antenna has been designed for the lower part of the spectrum or worse if it were designed for the upper part.
The above is a UHF phased array antenna which is the variety I install from time to time. For this antenna I use the analogy of a funnel with a magnifying lens on the front. Meaning it tends to gather a scattered signal and magnify it a little.
The above is a UHF Yagi antenna. For this type of antenna I use the analogy of a medium powered zoom lens.
This is another variety of UHF Yagi antenna. Again I use the analogy of a medium powered more narrow zoom lens.
This is a UHF Log Periodic antenna. I think of this antenna as a powerful zoom with a bit wider angle view.
The above if a directional VHF FM radio Yagi antenna.
NOTE: The higher the frequency, the smaller the antenna. FM Radio is around 100Mhz where as Digital Television is around 500Mhz.
The best antenna for you may not necessarily be the most expensive as it’s more about the design and the landscape near where you live. You may have an open space for miles around or you may have thick groups of trees or even hills near you or in between you and the TV transmitter. The one you need may differ if you live in Lennox Head or Pottsville or Kingscliff.
All these things are factors in determining what antenna is best for you.
Other factors include how many TV outlets you have or want to have installed.
The more outlets you have the greater the signal strength you will need. If your antenna cannot give enough signal to allow for the loss of signal through splitters or more cable then a Digital masthead Amplifier may be needed.
As you can see from the photos above, I carry phased array antennas, Log periodic antennas and Yagi antennas.
Each antenna has their own strength and weaknesses and i can tell the difference using my digital TV meter and spectrum analyser.
The placement of antennas is of importance but its not something you can guess. It is necessary to use a digital signal meter to measure the signals which determine the best placement. The placement may not be on the roof either. Sometimes I have mounted it on a pole in the yard or on a shed away from the house. The best ‘sweet spot” can change over the years also. This can happen when trees grow or houses are built which may block signal.
If you need further information… just click onto the Iwire Antennas Forum and ask.